ELLSWORTH – Senator Angus King and Representative Bruce Poliquin are pledging to fight for Maine fishing harvesters in Acadia National Park.
“The people of Maine own the land between the high water and low water,” says Poliquin. “Not the national park service.”
He and King announced a new bill Monday to help local worm and clam harvesters settle recent disputes about the use of intertidal zones in Acadia National Park.
“We love Acadia, we’re not picking on Acadia,” say Poliquin. “We just got to make sure that Acadia, that is owned by the federal government, they can co-exist with our folks that are working the flats around the area.”
Harvesting has been a practice in Maine for hundreds of years.
However, officials with Acadia National Park have disputed with these fisherman over who has the use of the intertidal zones over the last few years.
With privatized land already diminishing working water, harvesters are afraid their lively-hood could be at stake.
“To have a federal agency also step in and potentially limit access to that would be detrimental to us,” says Rustin Taylor, an independent harvester.
King and Poliquin’s bill will aim to solidify the fishing of intertidal zones in Acadia National Park and clarify the protection of upcoming practices like sea-weeding.
“Clammers and wormers have been using this property for some time, in the old legal term, ’til the mind of man runneth not to the contrary.'” says King. “What does that mean? Forever!”
In addition, the bill will try to resolve the 2015 Schoodic Land Transfer to the National Park Service which would add 1,400 acres to Acadia National Park, while also keeping in place a 1986 boundary law.
It will also establish a permanent advisory commission to allow locals to have input on park matters.
We reached out to Acadia National Park, but they had no comment.